About David Learmount

Author Archive | David Learmount


Pilot fatigue: the invisible killer is paraded for all to see

Pilots are conducting a day of action to draw attention to their concern that a scientific study saying European flight time limitations (FTL) regulations are unsafe may be ignored. The European Cockpit Association says the report, commissioned by the European Aviation Safety Agency, proves that existing regulations, at their extremes, are actually dangerous because of the length of duty periods that […]

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The solution for the problem that didn’t exist

BAE Systems, in partnership with Quest International, look as if they have come up with a brilliant solution to a real problem – contaminated cabin air. But if you had asked BAE the day before the 15 September press conference that launched this new system (called AirManager) whether contaminated cabin air was a problem, they would have said it […]

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Peanuts, monkeys and pilots

The following is a US-flavoured comment, but thoughtful and illuminating. It’s penned by a senior US airline pilot who posts under the name Seaavi8tor, but he’s real alright. Some of you will know him and his views. You can read what he says here, but the following quote provides a flavour of his subject: “In terms […]

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Fatal distraction

Spanish investigators have just released more information about the Spanair MD82 take-off accident at Madrid Barajas in August last year. If you remember, the crew attempted take off having omitted to set the flaps, and there was no take-off configuration warning to alert them to their mistake. The aircraft was destroyed and almost all on board were […]

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Airbus automation: is enough enough?

Airbus is considering automating another pilot function when it introduces the A350. Highly automated aircraft include all the airline types rolling off all production lines today. But Airbus, a child of the digital age, is often tagged as being even more automated than Boeing. This perceived difference generates a lot of heat - but very little light – among […]

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Capabilities of the VS Learjets

Which way is up?

Loss of control accidents are the world’s new big killers since the installation of airborne terrain awareness warning systems (TAWS) dramatically reduced the numbers of controlled flight into terrain crashes. The US FAA is considering mandating an upset recovery training programme for airline pilots. But what does it think is the best training method?     Right […]

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Don’t marry an airline pilot (Part 2)

About this time last year I suggested reasons why marrying an airline pilot might not bring you the lifestyle you had in mind. Today David Nicholas, who frequently posts comments here, has kindly sent me a link to a human interest story on the BBC website – including a video – which rather backs up my […]

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Winter thoughts in the northern summer

Are pilots ever really ready for winter when they have just flown through summer? They could be this year…   It’s not just about de-icing, its about which de-icing fluid to ask for under which circumstances. It’s not just about contaminated runways, it’s about what the runway is contaminated with  – and how much of […]

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Why has airline safety stopped improving?

“Unless there is a dramatic improvement in airline safety performance between now and the end of 2010, then 2001-10 will become the first decade since the Second World War when global airline accident rates did not show improvement.” You will shortly be able to read those words in Flight International’s review of global airline safety […]

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Do we do nothing if AF 447 remains a mystery?

It is still possible that the AF 447 recorders will be found. But if they never are, can the industry afford not to explore what is likely to have happened, rather than what is merely possible? The list of theoretical possibilities is, at present, so long that an assumption by the industry that any of them might have […]

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